Prepared especially to take part in the second fighter competition convened at Adlershof (Berlin) in May-June 1918, the Fokker EV certainly possessed a configuration and simplicity that was unusual for the time.
By the end of these trails its excellent performance and rate of climb had it generally regarded as the best of the rotary powered competitors.
A small initial order of 200 machines was placed and the first unit (Jasta 6) received their first Fokker E.V in August 1918, only to be grounded later that month due to a series of catastrophic wing failures. The cause of this problem was found to be poor manufacture controls and once corrected the type re-entered service in October 1918, this time designated as the Fokker D.VIII.
Too late and too few to have any real opportunity to make a contribution to the German war effort prior to the armistice (the type was credited with one confirmed victory), limited numbers of the Fokker D.VIII did see service with the Dutch and Polish air services.
The kit features 39 parts, nicely moulded in the usual grey plastic and like other kits from the Toko/Roden line the finer parts are beautifully done, although on my sample some of these had incomplete mouldings (such as the engine pipes nothing that presents any great difficulties). Some flash was also present on the larger parts such as those for the wing and fuselage
In the dimension department, comparison with plans published in the Windsock Datafile (No. 25) 'Fokker D.VIII', show that the fuselage and tail-plane/rudder are correct and that the cowling possesses a good profile. The wings are compatible with the plans in chord, however they appear to be about 1mm too long at each tip (but, nothing that a bit of careful scraping won't correct).
Basic construction requires fuselage halves to be put together, followed by addition of the front fuselage decking. The front fuselage deck incorporates machine-gun mounts, ammunition feeds and bins and the hump for the fuel gauge (characteristic of most rotary powered Fokker aircraft and something not featured in Eduards effort). Internal detailing consists of some moulded on frame work on the fuselage halves, plus the addition of separate parts for further frame-work, a rudder bar, control column, seat, throttle quadrant and instruments.
Machine gun breeches and ends are well reproduced, however the cooling jackets are perhaps a bit thin and would be greatly improved if replaced with photo-etched jacket frets. The prop is well done while surface detail on the fabric covered tail surfaces feature a subtle rib and fabric finish (the later ought to be toned down with some judicious sanding).
Decals include markings for four machines, plus lozenge decal 'skins' for the fuselage, tail plane and wheel covers. Decal options are for that of Oblt. Loewenhrdt of Jasta 6 (as seen on the box-top), a factory finish machine used by Lt.z.See Osterkamp of M.F.Jasta 2,and a machine in Dutch service. The final choice is for a Polish machine used by Julian Jasinski "004"(possibly the one featured on p.28 of the Datafile).
If anything I think the decal options were my greatest disappointment in the kit. Don't get me wrong, I applaud the inclusion of the Dutch and Polish versions which at least make for some variety, however there are many more interesting (and more attractive) schemes to be found in Jasta 6 and in Polish service that could just as easily have been included.
This is yet another example of an inexpensive, quality little kit to be produced by Roden, something that I hope to see a lot more of. Out of the box it will look great, but do a bit of work on the internal details and the control surfaces and the result should be a very fine little model indeed.
If compared to the Eduard effort of a few years ago, it is certainly superior in the fuselage and tail-plane, in terms of detail and finish, while I think the Eduard kit has perhaps a marginally better wing.